Sending newsletters is one of the best ways to connect with and retain an audience. Also, you can generate income if readers are willing to pay to receive your latest newsletters.
There are many subscription-based newsletter platforms such as Ghost, Substack, Buttondown, and Revue. However, Substack and Revue are two newsletter platforms that are drawing lots of attention among writers and publishers, especially those on social media.
Is Revue better than Substack? Or, is Substack better than Revue? Find out as I compare them below.
Launched in 2017, Substack is an online platform for journalists and writers. You can publish on Substack for your audience to read and also send each publication as a newsletter.
As a journalist or writer, the Substack platform provides an avenue for you to make money by collecting subscriptions from readers. You can make your publications free to read too.
Substack is popular among journalists working for top websites like The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BuzzFeed News, and Vanity Fair.
Aside from journalism and writing in general, you can use Substack for podcasting and comic publication. The company is based in San Francisco.
Revue is an online service for novice and professional writers who want to publish newsletters and make money from them.
You can publish newsletters for free or earn with paid newsletters. The platform also aims to help writers build a loyal audience. It supports multiple newsletters and collaboration among teams.
Revue is a Twitter product – following the acquisition in January 2021 – so it works seamlessly with the popular social networking platform.
As a result, it’s a popular newsletter service among writers with huge Twitter followings. Jewel Wicker, Caroline Criado Perez, and Scott Melker are some famous writers that use Revue.
You can begin writing on Substack by signing up with your mail or connecting your Twitter account. Then, you need to complete your profile by uploading your photo, name, and bio. If you Sign Up via Twitter, these details will automatically update.
You can either start right away with a paid or free publication. By default, your web URL will have the .substack.com extension – you can change this later with a custom domain.
Substack lets you upload your mailing list from Patreon, MailChimp, and others as a CSV file. You can also type in the email address manually if available.
After completing all initial steps, you’ll be redirected to your dashboard and you can start publishing.
Revue allows you to sign up with Twitter or with your email. Registering with Twitter is the easiest route as all your details – profile photo, name, bio, etc – are imported.
To complete your sign-up, you have to enter your Newsletter Title and Country of Residence. Notably, your country of residence determines the time zone when scheduling publications. Finally, confirm your email address to complete your Sign Up.
From your dashboard, you can begin publishing and sending out newsletters. The Revue editor is the default dashboard so you can start writing right away. Before you can publish, however, you need at least one subscriber.
It’s a draw for this round. You can sign up with Twitter or Email on Substack and Revue and the procedure is simple on both platforms.
The Substack Editor is simple and responsive via the web for all device types. This Editor is accessible from your dashboard by selecting New Post. Like most standard editors, you’re to enter a title, subtitle, and body text.
There are different formatting options including font style, heading type, bullets & numbering, and quotes. In addition, you can add hyperlinks, media files, code blocks, buttons, and footnotes.
The Substack Editor supports tags and you can edit your email header and forget. As you write, the editor saves the changes automatically so the draft is always up-to-date. Once you’re done writing, click Ready to confirm, and then publish.
As mentioned earlier, the Revue Editor is your dashboard. This is a drag and drop editor which anyone will find easy to use. The editing blocks are at the bottom of the editor.
These blocks include H1 Section (for heading), Text (for paragraphs), Link (for hyperlinks), and Media (image, video, or tweet). To write, you simply have to drag any of the blocks and drop where you want on the page.
There’s an option to type an introductory text before adding any page block. Formatting options for Text and Headers are available when you highlight them. Other blocks also have their respective formatting options.
Substack is the winner here as its classic editor lays out all the editing features. It’s easier to use than Revue’s drag and drop editor.
Substack features an exclusive Subscribers dashboard where you can manage your subscribers. The default columns you’ll find are All Subscribers and Paid Subscribers, but you can add more.
You can manually add subscribers or import a CSV list; likewise, you can export subscribers in a CSV file. Aside from Paid Subscribers, you can filter your Full Subscribers list to reveal your most active subscribers based on email opens, views, and comments.
You get individual stats of each subscriber when you select them. Substack has different options for managing subscribers; you can send a targeted mail, offer a complimentary subscription, or remove a subscriber from your list.
You can manage your subscribers from the Revue Subscriber’s dashboard. If you have no subscriber yet, you can enter your own email to test your newsletters or, manually add subscribers, import from a CSV file, or other platforms like MailChimp.
You’ll find a list of all your subscribers and previous subscribers in the Subscriber’s dashboard. The list is categorized according to subscribed, unsubscribed, and inactive subscribers.
Revue allows you to export subscribers as a CSV file. You either export and download the list of all your active subscribers or unsubscribed email addresses. For your security, the download link expires after 30 minutes.
Both Revue and Substack have similar subscriber manager features. They both support exporting and importing subscribers.
Substack lets you publish your posts immediately or later by scheduling. Even if you have no subscribers, you can still publish your writing as a blog post.
From the publishing options, you can set the publication to be accessible by everyone (free) or only for paid subscribers. Also, you can allow or disable comments for the web publication.
Substack shows you a social preview of your post – how it’ll appear when shared on social media platforms, especially Twitter.
For scheduling, Substack lets you set the exact date and time, down to the minute that your post will be published or sent via email.
Revue only lets you publish if you have at least a subscriber. Aside from your subscribers, others can view your issues if they get your link – if the issue is free.
Before publishing, you can set a Sharing Image; by default, Revue will use the first image in your post. In addition, you can publish to email and share to social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Medium.
For social media sharing to work, you need to connect your accounts for the different platforms. You can publish your newsletters immediately or schedule them to publish at a later date and time:
Being able to publish your newsletters to subscribers and also social media platforms gives Revue the edge over Substack.
If you’ve been using a different newsletter publication platform, you can import your content when you switch to Substack. You can import from websites, MailChimp, WordPress, Tinyletter, Revue, Medium, Tumblr, and web pages.
From the Import Publication page, enter the web URL of your previous publication. If correct, Substack will identify the publication and the number of posts available for import.
Next, you confirm ownership of the publication and you’ll find all posts from your previous newsletter platform on your dashboard.
If you’re importing from WordPress, you need to export your posts from your WordPress dashboard and then upload them in Substack.
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From the Revue Issues dashboard, you can import your past newsletters from other platforms. You’ll find this option first if you’re yet to publish any newsletter.
If you have published issues, then the option will be at the bottom of the page. Revue allows you to import past issues from Substack by default. Currently, you can’t import from any platform except Substack.
First, you need to export your newsletters from Substack as a zip file, then, upload it in Revue after selecting the import option, and click Start Import.
Usually, this shouldn’t take time but it may if you have any issues. You’ll get an email when the import is complete.
You can only import from Substack with Revue but Substack lets you import from anywhere, you just need the correct URL.
When you create a Substack account, your default domain is mynewsletter.substack.com. You can switch to a custom domain – www.mynewsletter.com – and remove the Substack domain extension.
This is ideal if you want to brand your newsletter and also use Substack as a blog. Substack doesn’t sell domains, you’ll buy from a third-party domain registrar and connect.
To unlock the custom domain option, you need to pay a $50 fee per publication. This is a one-time fee; you won’t pay another fee if you decide to change the custom domain for your publication again.
Setting up your custom domain is technical as it involves changing CNAMEs, DNS, etc.
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Your Revue newsletter is hosted on Revue’s domain by default. Hence, your domain appears like this www.getrevue.co/profile/yourusername. You can add a custom domain and use just www.yourdomain.com.
Adding a custom domain to your Revue account is free of charge. However, you have to purchase a domain from a domain provider. Since Revue only supports newsletter publication, you need to create a subdomain after purchasing your domain.
In other words, rather than www.yourdomain.com, you’ll use newsletters.yourdomain.com with newsletters being the subdomain. You can use any name you want when purchasing your domain or creating a subdomain.
Although Substack loading your publication to your domain home is better than Revue loading to a subdomain, $50 is expensive to pay. So, Revue is the winner of this Revue vs Substack round.
You get a blog and newsletter with Substack so there’s a lot of insights. Substack provides metrics for your posts, subscribers, and general stats.
From the Posts section, you get metrics on your publications. This includes total views, email recipients, open rate, click rate, and likes.
Similarly, the Subscribers section features insights on your total subscribers and email list. From the general Stats section, you’ll find metrics on your traffic, emails, podcasts, unsubscribes, and network.
This includes visitors, traffic sources, podcast audience count, podcast downloads, and the number of unsubscribes. Notably, the Network section features metrics on your payments and subscription sources.
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You can keep an eye on your newsletter stats from the Revue Insights dashboard. The dashboard features three sections: Performance, Growth, and Engagement.
The Performance page features your number of subscribers, open rates, and click rates per issue. You can sort the metrics for the past 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, 12 months, or all time.
From the Growth section; you can find insights on your subscribers and their sources. Hence, you’ll know if a subscriber came from Twitter, was imported, or added manually.
The Engagement page tells you how your audience interacts with your newsletters over time. It tracks high engagement, medium engagement, and low engagement.
Whether you use Revue or Substack, you’ll get all the metrics you need to track your performance.
Substack is more of a standalone newsletter and publishing platform. For integrations, Substack’s main stronghold is the newsletter import.
As mentioned earlier, you can import your previous newsletter publications from almost any third-party platform. Similarly, Stackstack works with MailChimp, Patreon, and a few others for importing email lists.
Also, Substack integrates with Twitter for sign-up. If you use Substack for podcasts, you can access RSS Feeds and the platform integrates with Stripe for receiving payment.
At the moment, Substack has no browser extensions or API.
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Revue supports a handful of integrations. Already, the platform works seamlessly with Twitter; you can connect with many other social media platforms.
From your settings, you can link your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Medium, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts.
The main third-party integration on Revue is Zapier. Through Zapier, you can connect Revue with many other platforms including MailChimp, Intercom, TypeForm, Facebook Lead Ad, Campaign Monitor, and Constant Contact.
In addition, Revue integrates with Substack for importing newsletters. Other available Revue integrations include Pocket, RSS Feeds, Refind, Instapaper, FeedBin, and Dribbble.
Furthermore, Revue has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Not to mention, the platform has an API for more integrations.
Revue is a giant in terms of third-party integration compared to Substack – it’s not close.
Substack doesn’t focus on writers and publishers alone. If you’re part of the audience, you can find all the best publications on the Substack platform from the Reader section – www.reader.substack.com.
You get the top reads of the week and month. These are publications from different writers and the list is endless. From the Discover section, you can find and follow topics you’re interested in.
As a reader, you can send feedback to Substack if you have any issues with a publication or using the platform in general. Notably, the Reader platform is still in its Beta mode so not all features are functional.
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Revue is more about writers; as a subscriber, you have better management options via your Twitter account than on the Revue platform.
From your Twitter account, you can easily subscribe or unsubscribe to a Revue newsletter. Aside from Twitter, you can manage your subscriptions via email when you receive a publication.
For instance, you can unsubscribe to a newsletter from the email you receive or on the web after loading the publication.
You have more options as a reader with Substack than with Revue. The Substack Reader platform works as a social feed for readers.
Substack features a Help Center and Resource Center if you need support. The Help Center has three main sections – Writers, Readers, and General.
The Writers section is for publishing and it features helpful articles on publishing, payments, and other questions. Readers can get help on accounts, payments, and subscriptions in the next section.
The General section covers other topics including FAQs and user safety. In the Resource Center, you’ll find helpful articles on how to use and grow your Substack publication as a writer; it contains inside tips and expert advice.
You can contact Substack for other issues and inquiries via email or by submitting a contact form. Notably, Substack handles subscribers’ support on behalf of publishers.
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All the support you need with Revue is available in the Help Center. The Help Center features guides and answers from the Revue Team.
You’ll find guide articles on account management, building and publishing a newsletter, performance and analytics, integrations, paid newsletters, and publisher topics.
There are about 70 help articles in the Revue help center. You can contact the Revue team directly using the LiveChat; however, the LiveChat isn’t available 24/7.
Revue’s Help Center is very reliable but Substack offers more support channels. There’s the Help Center, Resource Center, FAQs, email, and contact form support channels.
You can use Substack for free forever if you don’t collect paid subscriptions. If you start collecting paid subscriptions, Substack charges a 10 percent fee of the payment price.
You can set your subscriptions to be monthly or weekly; whichever it is, the charge is still 10 percent. Furthermore, payments made via Stripe attract a processing fee.
Subscribers can also pay with major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. You have the flexibility to choose the currency your subscribers pay in.
The main supported currencies include USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, and AUD.
Sending newsletters with Revue is free; you only pay when you charge your customers subscriptions. Revue charges five percent of your fee for each subscription.
Furthermore, Revue uses Stripe for payments, and Stripe charges a processing fee. This is added to the initial five percent charge.
Revue is working on an exclusive Publisher plan where you can pay monthly or annual subscriptions rather than charges per subscription. At the moment, you can join the waiting list until Revue Publisher is live.
Revue charges five percent while Substack charges 10 percent. In short, Revue is more affordable by 50 percent.
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- Easy signup
- Classic Editor
- Subscriber management
- Newsletter import
- Custom domain
- In-depth analytics
- Exclusive Reader platform
- Custom domain is expensive
- Few integrations
- No API
- Easy registration
- Drag and drop editor
- Subscriber management
- Free to add a custom domain
- Reliable analytics
- Many integrations
- Import from Substack only
- No podcast
- Fewer Reader options
- Both Substack and Revue support Twitter sign up
- Both supports newsletters and subscription
- They both support subscriber management
- With either Substack or Revue, you can import posts from other publications
- Both Revue and Substack support custom domain
- You only pay if you charge your readers
- Both support Stripe for payments
- Unlike Revue, Substack lets you publish without subscribers but you need at least one subscriber to publish a newsletter
- Substack features a classic editor while Revue features a drag and drop editor
- With Substack, you can publish to the web and newsletter, but you can only publish newsletters with Revue
- You can only import past issues from Substack with Revue but with Substack, you can import from anywhere
- Custom domain costs $50 with Substack but it’s free with Revue
- Substack has a podcast platform while Revue doesn’t
- Revue has far more integrations than Substack
- Substack has an exclusive platform for readers unlike Revue
Twitter bought Revue to compete with Substack and there’s a lot of good to say about both platforms. However, at the moment, Substack is the better of the two platforms for publishing newsletters and collecting subscriptions.
Substack doubles as a website and newsletter service, you can import issues from anywhere. Plus, it features a classic editor, supports podcasts, and has a platform for readers.
These are some of the major features Revue lacks. Substack does have its downsides but the upsides significantly outweigh them.
Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.